One of the benefits of practicing a highly organized and structured art such as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Judo, Sambo, etc. is that, as a student, it’s relatively easy to know that what you are learning meets certain standards, descends from a certain martial genealogy and is a legitimate system of sport or self defense. As practitioners of these arts, it’s easy to determine an instructor’s pedigree based on belts, ranks, instructors and so forth. Furthermore, through this rigid organization, we can be sure the techniques we are learning come from a founding master, and we are learning the martial art the way the founder intended it to be taught.
In short, that traditional structure and verifiable history act as a type of quality control so that the consumer/student knows what he is buying/learning is the real deal.
Unfortunately, many more esoteric martial arts don’t descend from such strict organization and are passed down more casually and informally. Often what happens in these cases is that skepticism arises about a martial art’s legitimacy, an instructor’s qualifications or even the existence of the art itself. One martial art that has been passed down in such a way is the grappling art known as Catch As Catch Can Wrestling.
“Catch Wrestling” as it’s become colloquially known is the devastating art of “hooking” or submission holds that’s descended from the tradition of carnival grapplers and “real pro wrestling.” For years, this system was sort of a myth, passed from one pro to another in secret basement workouts and pro wrestling schools across Europe and North America. But with the advent of MMA, CACC wrestling is emerging from the shadows and becoming recognized as a brutally effective martial art. Fighters such as Erik Paulson, Josh Barnett and Kazushi Sakuraba have demonstrated CACC’s effectiveness and have gone out of their way to learn and preserve this once secretive fighting system.
Now more is being done to certify, codify and preserve Catch’s techniques. Jake Shannon and company have been working with pro wrestling legend Billy Robinson to keep this martial art alive and pass it on to future generations of “hookers.” In this blog and article, Jake shows us some techniques and tells us about a certification program he’s working on with Coach Robinson. I find this news very exciting, and hopefully we’ll get to see more of CACC in the ring and the gym. It’s very possible to defeat an opponent with techniques he doesn’t know, and not many people know CACC. I would welcome the chance to learn its arsenal of killer moves.